Here’s an interesting story. The local gestapo (Prince George’s County law enforcement) broke down a family’s door, shot their dogs, and generally put the people – who had done nothing wrong – through a very rough time. The victim was the mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, and his family. The cops shot and killed the two dogs, even though one of them was running away at the time – because the cops ‘felt threatened’. Welcome to the land of the free and the home of the brave.
There are 320 similar events, including this one, recorded here.
Apparently, it is legal for the police to break down your door and enter without announcement if they think you might be doing something illegal.
Here in Texas, if somebody breaks into your house unannounced and surprises you, in the absence of other information, it is a justification for lethal force in self defense; the castle doctrine. Good guys don’t break into your house. If somebody knocks down your door, you can assume they are up to no good. If somebody breaks down my door this way, even if they are shouting ‘police!’, I wouldn’t assume they actually were police. Any thug can do that, and smart ones probably do. If they were in uniform I’d hold my fire, but then that might get me shot, since I’d be standing there holding a gun.
Looks like the law is at odds with itself. Apparently, on the one hand, the police can break down your door with no warning; which constitutes legal reason to use lethal force for defense if you’re on the inside of the door. Our own legal system has set up a situation where it is possible for two perfectly justified, law abiding groups to wind up shooting at each other.
I think we need to change the laws, back into line with the principles of this country. It used to be illegal for the police to enter your home against your will without showing you a warrant signed by a judge. This was overturned in the name of safety of police officers, and eliminating the opportunity for evidence to be destroyed. I don’t think this has worked out so well; it would be better for the police to err on the side of the innocent. I’d rather the police fail to catch that drug dealer, than to knock down the door of the innocent. They may catch that drug dealer the next time, but they’ll never undo the hatred and mistrust resulting from improperly raiding the innocent.
If the police think that makes it more dangerous for them, well, it probably does. But like a soldier in the military, they signed up for dangerous duty. Minimizing danger is good, but not at the cost of protections that should be enjoyed by every citizen of the United States.
The police generally deserve our respect and gratitude for what they do. Most of them are honest people doing difficult work. But when some of them start morphing into gestapo, their power needs to be checked.